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LATEST REVIEWS
SKY ON FIRE
"Seldom ignites."
2 stars
Jay Seaver says... "It's strange to say this about Ringo Lam Ling-tung's new action movie, but "Sky on Fire" could do with a whole lot more melodrama than it offers. As much as it's usually considered more impressive craft to communicate emotions with some subtlety or have the plot reveal itself gradually, this movie doesn't really ignite until Lam douses it with lighter fluid, and he doesn't do that nearly enough." (more)
LOVE WITCH, THE
"Like its protagonist, gorgeous but awful."
2 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "Every frame of Anna Biller’s "The Love Witch" is lavishly loved and fussed over, and every frame is unquestionably Anna Biller’s: she directed it, produced it, wrote the script, edited it, designed the sets and handmade the costumes, and composed the music." (more)
GHOSTBUSTERS (2016)
"A likable enough ode to grrl power."
4 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "The key to the Ghostbusters reboot is that it works not so much as a comedy (it’s fitfully amusing) or as a big-budget adventure but as an unforced celebration of feminism." (more)
MISS SHARON JONES!
"A great lady in a fine movie."
5 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "Barbara Kopple’s compassionate documentary "Miss Sharon Jones!" was completed in 2015, got a limited theatrical release last summer, and hit DVD earlier this month. It is newly relevant for a saddening reason: its subject and star, the retro “queen of funk” singer Sharon Jones, passed away just last week." (more)
JACKIE
"Portman reigns again."
4 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "When considering Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, I remember Priam’s line from The Iliad: “I have gone through what no other mortal on earth has gone through; / I put my lips to the hands of the man who has killed my children.”" (more)
DARK SONG, A
"Earns the supernatural like few horror movies do."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT MONSTER FEST 2016: Tales of the supernatural naturally tend to rely on a lot of hand-waving when it comes to details, both because their audiences often kind of want things to be able to come out of nowhere and because more detail will inevitably bump up against the audience's basic suspension of disbelief, because this stuff isn't real and each bit of explanation is a potential spot where the viewer no longer buys it. It's especially tricky when the movie needs an expert who can't really show his or her expertise beyond results, at least most of the time. That "A Dark Song" attempts to buck that tend, building a whole movie around the process and logic of working with the supernatural, would make it interesting even if it wasn't also a tense drama." (more)
AUTOHEAD
"'Indian Taxi Driver' is the description you just can't avoid."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT MONSTER FEST 2016: There are a few moments in documentary-style drama "Autohead" when somebody asks either the filmmakers or the subject just why they would be making a movie about this guy, and it would probably help matters a bit if they had some sort of ready answer. The most likely one is that they were looking for exactly the thing they got, a glimpse at something ugly and potentially dangerous, but there are only hints of that, although the "ugly and dangerous" part is well-done." (more)
RAW
"Plenty gross, but also plenty interesting."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT MONSTERFEST 2016: There's a last-scene reveal to "Raw" that, as well-done as it is, seems to run counter to the way the rest of the film works: If this is meant to shock and surprise, then why has everything else been so casual, so willing to play the horror as something that is simply not spoken about between the characters? It's an indecisiveness that often frustrates, because writer/director Julia Ducournau often seems to be onto something great with her horrific twist on the coming-of-age story." (more)
LOVE WITCH, THE
"Looks amazing, but has a bit of trouble doing more."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Poke around this site a little bit, and you'll find my review of Anna Biller's previous feature, "Viva", as well as some comments about how, because I didn't much like it,I clearly didn't "get" it for finding it all impressively-recreated pastiche but often dull and empty. The good news about "The Love Witch" is that it's a better movie, with something interesting underneath its incredibly detailed surface; the bad news is that Biller still seems to have trouble separating the wheat from the chaff when she's worked so hard on every frame." (more)
BAD SANTA 2
"Ho-Ho-Horrible. . ."
1 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "This year, holiday depression has a name—and a running time—and that name is “Bad Santa 2,” the patently unnecessary and desperately unfunny sequel to the hilariously vulgar 2003 comedy that went on to become a cult favorite among those who rather stick their nether regions in a box fan than sit through “White Christmas” again. Sadly, even that would doubtlessly prove to have more entertainment value than this bummer." (more)

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